AP Psychology
Unit 13: Intelligence & Testing
13.1 - Definition of Intelligence

Notes Outline

  1. Definition
  2. Theories:
  • Charles Spearman
  • L.L. Thurstone
  • Raymond Cattell
  • Howard Gardner
  • Howard Sternberg

Definition of Intelligence?

Generally defined as the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations.

Theories of Intelligence

Charles Spearman's G Factor

(Not pictured here: The L.L. Thurstone Cool J Meme I wish existed)

(Also not pictured here: The "Ain't Nothin' But A G-Factor" Snoop Dog Spearman mash-up I also wish existed)

Spearman believed we have ONE GENERAL INTELLIGENCE – shortened to “g” factor to make it easier…or more confusing…the g factor underlies all intelligent behavior.

Believed some people clearly had special intellectual abilities and Spearman developed FACTOR ANALYSIS to statistically identify clusters of related items

  • For example, high verbal intelligence correlates highly with spatial reasoning

Then and now, the idea of ONE score was controversial and hard to measure

L.L. Thurstone's Primary Mental Abilities

Opposed the one score idea of Spearman – he gave 56 tests to people and identified seven clusters of PRIMARY MENTAL ABILITIES. In fact, Thurstone helped develop the SAT.

HOWEVER, despite Thurstone giving out multiple scores, meta-analysis of his scores showed that those who did well in one area did well in another area à evidence of a g factor?

Raymond Cattell's Fluid & Crystallized Intelligences

Believed that multiple ways of assessing intelligence was more informative than a single g factor

Fluid intelligence involves reasoning ability, memory capacity, and speed of information processing.

Crystallized intelligence involves ability to apply acquired knowledge and skills in problem solving.

Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences

Like Cattell, NOT one g factor, but MULTIPLE ways of being intelligent --> 8 ways

  • Logical-mathematical
  • Linguistic
  • Musical
  • Spatial
  • Bodily-kinesthetic
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
  • naturalist

To gather these 8 ways Gardner studied those with normal intelligence, and those who were EXCEPTIONAL – brain damage, prodigies, savants – broad range of people

Critics of this theory point out that the broader you make the term intelligence the less it means, and also people do not necessarily HAVE a strength area of intelligence.

Sternberg's Triarchic Theory

Not 8, but rather 3 types of intelligence

ANALYTICAL (academic problem-solving) is assessed by intelligence tests, which present a well-defined problem with a single answer. Test like those predict school success well, vocational success less well

CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE – ability to react adaptively to novel situations and generate novel ideas

PRACTICAL INTELLIGENCE – required for everyday tasks, which are ill-defined, with multiple solutions